My friend’s daughter has always been infatuated with Sea World and Shamu since she was 4yrs of age, now 10 she still has the dream of becoming a Shamu trainer. I made her this Homemade Shamu Trainer Costume.
Materials List: 1/2" PVC piping Foam pipe insulation for ½ in pipes 1 sheet of foam sheeting ½ in thick 1 sheet of foam sheeting 1 ½ inch thick 2 Wooden dowels ¼ inch in diameter x 4 ft. 2 Rolls of blue cellophane 2 yards of clear plastic vinyl Glue sticks Lot’s of them! 3 Shamu stuffed whales Fishing line ¾ inch Sprinkler valve Flexible sprinkler plastic tubing 1 Tire air valve ¾ inch x 5 inch long pvc pipe 1 PVC end cap ¾ inch 3 PVC adapters ¾ in with inside threads on both ends 8 PVC 90 degree elbows x ½ inch 12 PVC tees x ½ inch 2 PVC triple outlet connector x ½ inch 4 PVC 45 degree elbows x ½ inch PVC cement 1 sheet of ¼ inch foam board Assorted Acrylic paints
I drew up a rough sketch of Shamu stadium, and using pictures as a guide constructed a skeleton of Shamu stadium using 1/2 inch pvc pipe and PVC pipe adhesive. I used 1/2 inch thick foam sheeting that will be used inside the pipe frame and will be the main base for the costume to this a hole was cut out using a soldering iron melts the foam like butter and will house my friends daughter.
To attaché the foam sheet to the pipe I simply drilled ¼ inch holes all around the top frame and fully through both sides of the pipe. I inserted ¼ inch wooded dowel pieces about 1 ½ inches long through the pipe and into the foam sheeting these dowel pieces were dipped in glue before inserting. Reason being foam sheeting and pvc pipe are different substrates nothing I have found will glue these two materials together, but using the glue and dowels gives a strong and reliable joint.
To give this Shamu stadium some life I attached a ¾ inch sprinkler valve, some flexible sprinkler tubing, a tire valve and a push button switch attached to a small plastic Shamu and hooked it up to a used Altoids metal mint box which housed two 9 volt batteries for power. This setup will allow me to place one end of the flexible tubing through a stuffed plush Shamu and to his mouth air force supplied by the tire valve in which air is fed into the sprinkler valve with a ordinary hand pump and will deploy water for a big splash. when the push button is deployed.
Background props were all made from ½ inch foam sheeting and cut using a soldering iron. Shamu tail was cut from 1 ½ inch thick foam sheeting and carved with a knife. Background props were painted with Acrylic paint.
I attached 1 inch nylon webbing with buckles through the foam sheeting and through the PVC frame. This is used so the child can wear the costume on the shoulders, as a back up I also included handles made from webbing so the child can hold the handles if the costume gets to heavy for the shoulders.
For the illusion of a underwater tank I attached blue cellophane to clear vinyl sheeting for strength. This was attached to the PVC pipe using hot glue. I finished this illusion by hot gluing foam pipe insulation over the pipe frame giving the illusion of metal beams. Top of tank was constructed using pieces of blue cellophane glued on top of foam sheeting to give appearance of waves. Stuffed plush Shamu’s were then hung using fishing line. When the child walks the Shamu’s swing like they were swimming in the tank.
Shamu’s stage was constructed from 1 ½ inch thick foam sheeting and glued with foam board adhesive and a hole drilled on top to accept the end of flexible sprinkler tubing. I attached Velcro on back of stage which will attach to front of costume. To finish off the stage I covered the stage with craft foam board and painted a light tan color clear contact paper was added over this to protect when Shamu squirts. This stage will hold shamu and his tubing. I just then added water through Shamu’s mouth, and pumped air with a hand held tire pump and pushed the small button to activate the explosion of water Now get ready to be splashed! Shamu Shamu!